What Qualities Should You Look for in a Marketing Automation Manager?

Whether you’re a small to medium-sized business or a larger enterprise organization, marketing automation is your company’s best bet for staying competitive in this digital age.

But being successful and getting ahead of your competition isn’t just about using marketing automation anymore; it’s about optimizing your platform and resources to grasp its full potential. That means you need the right team to manage your marketing automation platform.

At the core of an effective team is a strong leader who understands your buyers’ needs across the entire lifecycle–from awareness to purchase, onboarding to retention, and growth to advocacy–and thinks about the entire customer experience across touchpoints. This leader will be responsible for your demand generation strategy for different segments and its orchestration across channels. He/she will work with key stakeholders, such as product marketing and sales, and may manage a team of vast talents–marketers, content creators, and designers. It’s a tall order, and you want the very best.

If you’ve never had a point person for marketing automation before, you might be wondering what qualities a marketing automation manager would need, and how to hire the very best. In this blog, I’ll cover all the information you need for a successful marketing automation manager hire:

Find a Modern Day Da Vinci

Marketing organizations in this digital age need a new blend of talent.**** The ideal marketers for cross-channel, customer-centric marketing combine the creativity of an artist with analytical and data modeling skills. As “thinkers” and “doers,” they can propel the organization to success on both fronts and earn credibility for the marketing team.

They need to be “feelers” who understand behaviors, expectations, and interactions and have a pulse on the buyer at any given point of the customer lifecycle. They also need to be great collaborators and have a solid understanding of the principles and strategies of data-driven marketing and modern demand generation, plus hands-on experience with a marketing automation or email marketing platform. They need to be able to demonstrate the ability to plan and oversee the execution of successful campaigns across multiple channels and measure the results that they drove on each one.

Below are some reasonable minimum requirements of a Da Vinci-esque marketing automation manager, based on our own experience. Of course, depending on the goals, size, and structure of your organization, you may have different people responsible for different aspects. However, the smaller your company, the more “hats” your marketing automation manager will have to wear in the beginning. As you start realizing the productivity benefits of your platform, you can scale your business and grow your team.

The ideal marketing automation manager should have these qualities:

People Skills That Set a Marketing Automation Manager Apart

A marketing automation manager must be able to collaborate cross-functionally as well as produce. Not only will she be leading a team, but this managerial position will touch other functions in the company, such as sales, customer success, services, and support. That means the ideal candidate must also have the skills to work well within the team, both on the marketing side and with the other invested departments.

How to Find a Modern Day Da Vinci

Start by looking internally within your company for candidates who may be a good fit. Because they’re already familiar with your organization’s culture, processes, and business model, they’ll be easier to get up to speed.

Take a look across your company’s departments, including:

Then, look at sourcing externally through these channels:

Whether you’re looking for an internal or external candidate, here are some key phrases that will make their credentials stand out:

Who to Include in the Interview Process

Since your marketing automation manager will be working with many different groups and people in marketing and other departments, it’s important to include key stakeholders in the interview process.

Consider involving the following people:

Depending on the size of your company and your hiring process, it may take from a few weeks to a few months to get someone hired. We recommend no more than three rounds of interviews (e.g. one phone screen with HR and the hiring manager and two on-site inerviews with key stakeholders).

Questions to Ask During the Interview Process

Once you’ve identified a slate of candidates, you need to make the most of your interview time. Here are a few interview questions you’ll want to ask, based on the skills and experience you’re looking for, and what to watch for in the answers.

  1. Tell me about the most successful marketing automation campaign you have run (and why you consider it successful). Try asking the first part of this question alone to start. You’re looking for an articulate, concise, and logical answer that follows the PAR model (problem-solution-result). You can then ask follow-up questions to understand candidate’s role in the project and all the steps in the process. You’re also waiting to see (1) if he shares credit with his team, and (2) if he focuses on the metrics that matter. If metrics don’t come up, try asking the second part—why the candidate considers it successful—and see if he provides soft answers or solid, data-driven metrics.
  2. Tell me about the least successful campaign you have run (and what you have learned from it). With this question, you’re looking for how the candidate thinks she might have changed it. Does she blame others? What were the lessons she learned?
  3. How would your manager (and your co-workers) describe you? Here, you’re looking for the candidate’s accurate assessment of his strengths and weaknesses. You would also want to validate his responses with answers from their former manager and co-workers during the reference check process to see if they match.
  4. How do you learn best? The way the candidate learns is less important than the fact that she wants to and recognizes the need to. Continuous learning is a key factor to success in marketing automation.
  5. Describe the most challenging team dynamic situation you’ve faced and how you approached it. Look for how the manager helped smooth issues over. Was he integral to the situation? What collaborative skills did he display?
  6. To understand the candidate’s current demand generation efforts, volume of programs, and understanding of the revenue model, ask them about the following:
    1. Demand generated, such as number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
    2. Conversion rates: For a B2B organization, this might include conversions from MQLs to opportunities to closed-won deals.
    3. Velocity: How many days does it take for a potential customer to turn into a customer?
  7. How do you decide what programs to invest in? This will identify how he gauges success and whether he’s using metrics to inform his budget allocation decisions.
  8. What are your best channels for your target audience? Which generate the most ROI? This question reveals 1) if she understands who her target audience is 2) if she measure across both programs and channels.
  9. Useful exercises to have your candidate complete as part of the interview process:
    • Build a short .ppt deck (no more than five slides) to deliver to your sales and marketing leaders describing the early-mid-late stage marketing programs that you drove and results you achieved. Look for proficiency with developing an effective presentation and delivery in front of the key stakeholders. This can be done on the spot or as a homework exercise with on-site delivery of the presentation.
    • Write a sample email with a call-to-action based on the description of a content asset. Here you’re assessing her writing skills and ability to produce compelling promotional copy that would entice someone to take the desired action.

The Ideal Marketing Automation Manager is Waiting

As you begin your search for the best marketing automation manager, you’re bound to learn a lot along the way. One candidate may impress you with his technical know-how, and another may demonstrate the collaboration and people skills you need. Ultimately, it will be your judgment call based on the pool of candidates you have, their cultural fit with your current team and organization, genuine excitement about joining your company;,their personality and willingness to learn skills they lack, and how their strengths will dovetail with those of your existing team.

What else do you look for in a marketing automation manager? Share your insights in the comments below!

Marketo Summit 2017